Several hundred reps at the practice basket. Another couple hundred drives in the field. Pretty common recommendations for practice, right? Read this blog or a number of others and you’ll see this type of practice regimen prescribed repeatedly.
Then one day you say, “All right, I give in! I’m finally going to commit to that practice.” You go out every day and put in the time. You practice until your arm hurts and your hand is blistered. You gain confidence. You gain skill. You are ready for your next tournament. More so than you ever have been before.
Then it happens. You step up to the first tee at your tournament and shank your drive. You manage to make it to 20 feet out from the basket and promptly doink your putt into the front of the cage. On the next hole, you have a tunnel shot, but you don’t even come close to staying in the tunnel. Your confidence is shaken. You wonder why you put in all that practice time in the first place.
What happened? You did what everyone says you should. You put in the time practicing. Why didn’t it transfer to the course? There are lot of possible answers to that question, but one thing comes immediately to mind.
The answer to this dilemma, which I have definitely faced, lies in your muscle memory. And thank you to Brad Ahrens, a blog reader, for suggesting a solution!
When you are out practicing, it’s easy to get in a groove. Your body quickly remembers what to do when you just did it a second ago. But what if the last time you made that motion was an hour ago? How about a day or a week ago? In order to play well in competition, you have to have the movements grooved so well that you don’t need warm up. You have to have them down to the point that you don’t need a bunch of warm up reps. You have to be able to step up and throw or putt cold.
Here’s where Brad’s idea comes in. Let’s use putting as an example. We’ll assume that you’re done with your practice reps for the day. Once done, give yourself a cool off period. Wait 15-30 minutes or more. Do something else. It doesn’t even have to be disc golf related. Then, grab a few putters, step up to the 20-30 foot mark, and see if you can put them in.
Better yet, just randomly find a way to throw in a putt or two every now and then across your day. No practice, no warm up just step up to the practice basket and toss in a couple of putts. Then go on about your business.
It’s that cold practice that best simulates what happens in a tournament. It’s that cold practice that will give you a better idea of how you’ll do in a real game situation. The nice thing is that you can apply this litmus test to any disc golf skill. Do it after field work for drives. Do it after field work for up shots.
I’ve been doing this lately and it’s an eye opener for sure. It’s one thing to toss in 200 putts in one session. It’s another to grab one putter, step up to a 30 foot putt, and drain just that one putt, knowing it’s your only chance. Give it a shot. I think it will help your game, it’s helping mine. And then come back here and say thanks to Brad.
Something else you can do with no practice is subscribe to this blog! Just enter your email below, and we’ll putt a weekly newsletter right into the basket of your inbox. We hit chains every time!